CARRABASSETT VALLEY — After a dismal snow season Sugarloaf announced Tuesday it would invest another $1 million in low-energy snow-making guns with the help of a $300,000 grant from Efficiency Maine.

“After the weather we saw last winter, we decided that upgrading our snow-making capabilities needed to be a priority this summer,” Sugarloaf General Manager John Diller said in a prepared statement. “Some of our sister resorts have experimented with this new low-energy technology over the past two seasons, so we know how well it works. It will allow us to produce more snow at key times, while reducing the overall amount of electricity we consume. It’s really a win-win.”

The new technology is expected to improve the resort’s ability to make snow in key areas and at warmer temperatures, while simultaneously reducing its electricity consumption, according to a press release.

Efficiency Maine is an independent trust dedicated to the efficient and cost-effective use of energy in order to save money for Maine residents, grow the economy, and create jobs.

According to the release, a competitive grant program allows Maine businesses, institutions, and governments to compete for project funding for large electrical energy efficiency and distributed generation projects.

Sugarloaf was awarded the  grant based on the expected energy savings from the new snow-making technology and the commitment of a $700,000 investment from Sugarloaf.

The resort will use the funding to purchase 300 HKD SV10 Impulse snow guns, the most advanced energy-efficient snow-making technology on the market. The new guns, manufactured by Snow Economics Inc. / HKD Snowmakers, will replace Sugarloaf’s older, less efficient snow-making equipment.

“The HKD SV10 Impulse guns are able to make the same amount of snow using up to 90 percent less compressed air (depending on temperature). Compressed air production represents the largest area of electricity consumption in the snow-making process,” the release stated.

It is hoped the new equipment will improve Sugarloaf’s ability to open for the early season and make more terrain available for skiers and snowboard riders during the important Christmas vacation period.

Of the new snow guns, 275 will be installed on towers in fixed locations, while the remaining 25 will be sled-mounted guns that can be transported around the mountain and utilized in multiple locations, according to the release.  The fixed tower-guns will be installed primarily on central-mountain trails, including King’s Landing, Hayburner, Tote Road, Sluice, and Candyside.

The new equipment is expected to arrive at the resort in late summer and will be installed this fall, prior to Sugarloaf’s opening day.

The investment is part of the resort’s “Sugarloaf 2020” 10-year development plan, which over the past two years has added nearly 400 acres of new terrain and a new state-of-the-art chairlift, as well as numerous other resort upgrades.


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